tv [untitled] December 24, 2012 9:00pm-9:30pm PST
middle east to his assignment. his exemplary gift for making personal connections was invaluable as his role as specific representative and ambassador to one of the most complex and challenging regions of the world. therefore as we join in recognizing ambassador stevens am myself midst a sober outpouring of praise from his family, colleagues, fellow americans and the leaders of this nation, we remember also that chris stevens was beloved by many libyans as well. therefore on behalf of the residents of northern california and our entire state, we join president barack obama, secretary of state hillary rodham clinton, democratic leader nancy pelosi and expensive
network of people in saluting ambassador chris stevens who will be remembered for his strong sense of dignity, his humility and his generous service to others. he will be truly missed by all who loved him and by all he served throughout the magnitude of his life's work. thank you for this honor. [applause] members of christopher stevens family, ladies and gentlemen, let me first thank chris stevens' brothers and sisters for
their warm and delightful insights into what he was really like. thank you so much. that was fantastic what you did for us. christopher stevens was obviously an extraordinary human being and contributor. every year at stanford we have a group of what we call national security fellows come. they were roughly army, navy, air force, state department. a couple weeks ago we had a meeting and the first person i called on was an army colonel. i said where were you last? he said in libya. i said did you know christopher stevens? he said everybody knew christopher stevens. he was our leader, fluent in arabic, constructive,
positive, doing something, he was our leader. this spontaneous practically eruption from him. he was a foreign service officer. anybody who has served with a foreign service as i did as the secretary of state knows, what a very special group of people this is. they are very able people. dedicated. they work hard for our country. chris was extraordinary and stood out. i thought what image can i think of that might express our way of thinking about him. i thought of the great seal of our republic. i don't know how many of you have ever looked
carefully at it. the center is an eagle. in one talon the eagle is holding an olive branch. the eagle is looking at the olive branch to show that the united states will always seek peace. the other talon, the eagle is holding arrows to show that the united states understands if you will be effective and successful in seeking peace, you must be strong. let me expand. because it only only peace but a better kind. the elimination of poverty, better lives all over the world for ourselves and other people. the arrows don't just stand for military strength but capability, they stand for
the idea that the underwill try to recruit the best and most capable to apply themselves to those grand objectives. as i studied the life of christopher stevens, he embodied that and sought the grand objectives that our dwok si stands for. we gather to mourn his loss and demonstrate to his family how much we understand their grief. we also gather to celebrate the immense accomplishments this man has made for us. i picked out of my closet a
more than that he was among the very best our foreign service has to offer in support of our people and our country. a man destined for even greater challenges and successes. it is a special honor for me to be asked to be here and say a few words in his memory. i must begin by offer approximating my sincere condolences and passion to his family and friends gathered here this afternoon to honor his memory. in truth, what we say here our words, can only be a pale shadow for his service and sacrifice for his nation and people. indeed that of his colleagues, glen dougherty, sean smith, tyrone woods. i know you all join me in honoring and appreciating their service and devotion as well. chris and i worked together for a time almost a dozen
years ago. he was even then fully committed to his work. an authority already in the middle east. a fine student of arabic. much more. he gave me careful and cogent advice and council as we wrestled together with the many growing problems that even back then were en endemic to the country's work. i learned about benghazi, as the critical changes in libya began to unfold. his leadership there at a time of great importance and danger was a tribute to his courage and bravery. his skill and dedication as a diplomat. to his commitment to a new and better libya. benghazi in a real sense, as you have heard today, became his city.
as it is with a deep sense of fate that in benghazi he and his colleagues gave that last full measure for his country and his many friends in the city where he died, continuing to defend and prosper their hopes and their aspirations for the future. many have commented since on chris's salient commitment to the people of benghazi. john thorn writing in the christian science monitor noted that when he passed in the street, the young men would call out, hello, chris. they knew his face. would laugh and say hello always. this is the right way to deal with our people, he said.
libyan friends said he was always ready to put his country first. he shone by being himself, interested in the lives of ordinary people. his death was met with shock and sadness in libya. feelings with regard to americans that are rare in that part of the world these days. for me that judgment captures key characteristics of chris and his approach to life and work. secretary of state hillary clinton noted chris's swearing in as ambassador to libya on an earlier tour, he was visiting roman ruins at one of the tourist sites in libya. he was trailed by gadhafi security men who were obviously intimidating to other tourists. as she recounted it, he reached over to one of the men, stole his camera out of his hands and started
taking pictures of the men who had been following him. they were so dumbfounded that they had to laugh. after a quick conversation, chris convinced them to stand down. from a colleague at the embassy in tripoli i learned chris had a humble style of diplomacy libyans responded to after he became ambassador and returned to tripoli, the embassy posted a photo, ordering a juice in a cafe. that went viral because libyans were amazed at the site of a senior government official doing mundane activities without a huge entourage and demanding vip treatment. chris had a great knowledge of libyan history and culture. he would often crack jokes with government counter parts. not just in arabic but in the libyan dialect, which the libyans loved to hear
him speak. another told me when i saw him in may as newly appointed ambassador in tripoli he had not changed, despite the promotion and accolades. he was the same guy. lingering one night after dinner to help me with a difficult table, i referred to him as sir or ambassador. he looked at me for a second, he sighs and he said i wish everyone would just call me chris. he loved the work, loved the people, but he never took himself too seriously. people talk about what a good diplomat he was. he knew how to motivate others to be the same. even those down on their careers, lost faith, in hardship. this was a tough task to inspire other to serve with dignity and self-respect. chris knew how to do that. nothing we can say here can make up for the heart ache
and pain which brings less to his family. we hope family members will draw solace and strength in our coming together around his life and service in a joyful way that shows how deeply we miss chris. i still have chris last message on my e-mail. he wrote hello, tom. it is exciting times in tripoli. with election and new congress coming together. as i read libya's recent history it is a bit like we are reliving the post world war ii years. how right he was. that was chris. always thinking, always sharp, always ready. public service is too often looked down upon by some in
this country. often my colleagues in the foreign service la meant they don't make them the way they used to anymore. today we remember a man, chris stevens, whose life and service just proves how wrong my colleagues really are. chris shows us they still make them the way they used to, only an awful lot better, thank you. [applause] >> chris's family would like to invite everyone to a reception after the ceremony. it will be held over there. you are all welcome. let us pray. oh lord, support us all the day long until the shadows